Tale of two govts or Two of the same!

3 November 2015 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sadly the government is trying to belittle the Paranagama Report to prevent MR from scoring points… the previous administration’s high officials’ and its few Cabinet Ministers that could read English were lazy to read a lengthy text.... That is the kindest excuse  ...




Fortunes of a nation lie on a trunk of a leader. If the heart of Mahinda Rajapaksa were attached to the mind of Ranil Wickremesinghe, the nation could come smelling of roses after the war. Patriotic sentiments blended neatly with worldly wisdom. It was not to be. Becomes a land of a splintered torso.

Who is Boss? Need is for a Boss of Bosses - Capo di Cape.

President Sirisena wisely leaves thorny issues with a foreign component to his better-educated Prime Minister than to the sartorially elegant Foreign Minister. 
President Sirisena falls into the frame, in search of politics. Ceremonially presided over the All Party Conference, a showcase of no value blown to make a President look regal on television. Any equation in modern Sri Lanka is a bare cupboard without Mahinda Rajapaksa [MR] for the good, bad or ugly.

The Prime Minister placed the Udalagama Report in Parliament setting the findings in Muttur, Sencholai and Trincomalee incidents along with 14 others on war crimes. Though presented to MR, never was the Report released to the public. 

Suppression gave rise to unnecessary suspicion. MR never read it or possibly had bare conclusions read to him or more likely, had the gist conveyed. Being an able man, he would have placed it in the public domain, as credit was his, only if he had bothered 
to study?

Honour the true author of the script of the Udalagama Report posthumously- doughty Douglas Premaratne P.C. (Former Solicitor General). Useful contributions came from Javid Usoof (former Ambassador) and Jezima Ismail (leading educationist).The credit goes to the trio that formed the brains’ trust behind the compilation of the report. Nissanka Udalagama spent his time in office enjoying perks of a Chairman lending his title of being an ex-Supreme Court Judge to the Report.


 

"We dropped a sitter with the ‘Action Plan’ when lackadaisical Lalith Weeratunga and G.L. Peiris forfeited a way out of international inquiry during the Rajapaksa days and now it’s another dropped chance with the Paranagama Report, where we can wave as a friendly flag to display a credible mechanism is in place and to canvass for a truly domestic inquiry where foreign experts are required to help us with their skills and foreign observers to sit –not as judges, prosecutors, counsel and investigators but to give legitimacy."



The Udalagama Report contained sufficient substance to merit spreading it to save our good name as culprits were found: some exonerated and still more listed for investigation. 

MR is averse and allergic to reading. Sadly, it does not broaden minds. Nothing – repeat – nothing happens thereafter, because high officials don’t read and politicians don’t know the contents in reports. Maxwell Paranagama is much smarter than Udalagama, but the style, turn of phrase and depth in law seen in his Report are beyond the comprehension of a retired judge. Paranagama is above the ordinary, yet the footnotes give way to footprints of extraordinary ability beyond the capacity of its simple authors. Dare say, there was value in engaging foreign experts.

Lalith Weeratunga, was a heartbeat away from the President - slept over the Udalagama and LLRC reports as he did with the ‘Action Plan’ presented to Clinton. Lalith Weeratunga to Rajapaksa was no Wijeyadasa or Paskaralingam to Premadasa. A man of integrity in whose feeble hands much work remained undone, been a failure in the art of delegation. Holding matters close to his kind heart was his style in gaining authority in a closed society.

The Paranagama Report executed by MR invited experts to bolster Paranagama in an effort to thwart the efforts of the West to demonise the war. 

None have given sufficient credit to MR for a brilliant manoeuvre since he has gone underground with the surfacing of corruption allegations that surrounds his administration. Ushering peace was his true greatness but to sustain it with proper governance was his weakness.
 

"Government called the Paranagama Report worse than the UNHRC report to show its ignorance of the Report, which after considering all the options available, as mandated, recommends a local inquiry - comprehensively domestic in character without foreign participation."



Wickremesinghe laid the Paranagama Report on the Parliamentary table – replete with value added insights of the foreign experts –Sir Desmond de Silva Q.C, Professor Geoffrey Nice Q.C (UK) and David N. Crane (USA) inclusive of the brilliant military report of Major General John Holmes. There lies a magic portion- not in the names but in the contents of their report. More authentic than the Darusman report; it examined hard evidence from the local scene along with the material gathered by Darusman from overseas focusing on the charges. Unlike the Darusman’s report it is not an ex-parte hearing. The Paranagama Team shifted and arranged the evidence to arraign it before a more authoritative body for a final conclusion.

Lawyer Darusman, should have declined the assignment if he had an iota of self-respect having previously censured Sri Lanka on human rights. He was unfit to chair a committee to probe human rights having slated Sri Lanka in writing at the time of exiting as an Eminent Person to the Udalagama Commission, which he never attended and operated via a foreign representative in Sri Lanka. 

Why did Ban-kin-moon with the whole world before him select biased Darusman disqualified on natural justice as chairman?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by an erudite law professor neglected to disqualify Darusman and cried over the spilt milk after the event. The Experts report headed by Sir Desmond considered the allegations made in the Darusman’s report and Chanel 4 documentaries and other criticisms and tossed it against the live evidence and gave a more balanced appraisal. The cutting edge is in the assessment of the White Flag story, deaths of Balachandran, Isaipriya and Colonel Ramesh – finds the material provided inadequate to reach a conclusion and makes a call for fuller inquiry, since it has a semblance of accuracy - realistic and reasonable, leaving conclusions to a comprehensive inquiry.
 

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by an erudite law professor neglected to disqualify Darusman and cried over the spilt milk after the event."



Surely, the Paranagama Report would not please the ultra - Sinhala or Tamil opinion -therein lies its true potential. It does not cater for extreme elements.
This Report reinforces our capability of creating transparent domestic tribunals to hear war crimes sans foreign intervention. Government must not bow to the international community and become their servile lap dog. Last government made us live in an island like Robinson Crusoe and this government is taking on a cruise in the western waters in an effort to throw us over board.  The Paranagama Report, with foreign expertise, brings credit to the Rajapaksa regime for selecting and initiating men of repute to assess Sri Lanka dispassionately. This report was in the hands of this government at the relevant time but was not presented to the UNHRC for reasons unknown. If presented UNHRC would have known the flip side to the Darusman edition and our responses to the charges in the Darusman report. Foreign Minister’s failure to bring it to the notice of the UNHRC has led to hybrid tribunals and to an agreement we signed making it bind multi polar.

Where do we go from here? To renegotiate to make it a truly domestic inquiry by carrying the Paranagama Report to display our credentials of capability and capacity for a fair trial.

On Channel 4 the Expert’s Report submits it “provides enough material to form a reasonable basis to believe war crimes may have been committed warranting investigation”; on the white flag incident suggests that a judicial inquiry is necessary and believes more should be probed on the deaths of Balachandran (Prabhakaran’s 12-year-old-son) Shoba alias Isaipriya the pretty broadcaster and Colonel Ramesh since material provided by Channel 4 is insufficient proof. These deductions are made after examining the credibility of every source material and reaching a finding of a prima facie case made against the offenders but reaches no conclusions by pinpointing  names, as it requires proof of a higher degree to prove charges. Unlike the Darusman Report, travel is not on a one-way fault street but on a dual carriage moderating and assessing facts against the background of the relevant laws.

Furthermore, on available evidence it dismisses the charge of genocide and does not accept the allegation of 40,000 or fewer deaths caused by the defence services or in the absence of evidence and is in tandem with the UNHRC’s report that states the LTTE caused deaths of unaccounted Tamils civilians during the last phase.

Was it not presented to the UNHRC in being a product of the Mahinda  Rajapaksa administration or did they not study the report as required to learn of its true value? Are we playing politics while the nation bleeds? Opposition is asking for opinions furnished by the experts instead of nudging the report to the UNHRC? Stupidity has reached new heights with the fault lying with Foreign Ministry officials in not briefing the politicians and the public – trained as butlers with servility to murmur “Yes, Your Excellency” obligingly.

We dropped a sitter with the ‘Action Plan’ when lackadaisical Lalith Weeratunga and G.L. Peiris forfeited a way out of international inquiry during the Rajapaksa days and now it’s another dropped chance with the Paranagama Report, where we can wave as a friendly flag to display a credible mechanism is in place and to canvass for a truly domestic inquiry where foreign experts are required to help us with their skills and foreign observers to sit –not as judges, prosecutors, counsel and investigators but to give legitimacy.

The Government called the Paranagama Report worse than the UNHRC report to show its ignorance of the Report, which after considering all the options available, as mandated, recommends a local inquiry - comprehensively domestic in character without foreign participation.

The Udalagama Commission had a French judge of eminence and Japanese observer present till near end of the sittings and the foreign eminent persons or their agents were permitted (When present unlike Darusman who was permanently absent) to cross - examine witnesses. Sadly the government is trying to belittle the Paranagama Report to prevent MR from scoring points; just as much as the previous administration kept under its wraps the Udalagama Report - since the previous administration’s high officials’ and its few Cabinet Ministers that can read English was lazy to read a lengthy text. That is the kindest excuse on offer. The TNA opposed the Paranagama Report and our great nationalists fail to play an ace in hand. Instead these good people play the wrong card and do a great disservice to the nation on the pretext of being patriotic by misreading the Paranagama Report, our fast disappearing final frontier. We suffer, as both governments are the same.
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